Every Academy girl has one thing in common, her class ring. The crest on the background of onyx is the quickest way to notice an Academy graduate. Each year the junior class looks forward to the ceremony that signifies the presentation of these time-honored rings in the presence of their peers, family, and teachers. This event signifies a school-wide celebration of the academic and spiritual growth of all Academy students.
This year’s ring ceremony for the Class of 2012, held January 13, was no different in significance from the ring ceremonies that have preceded this treasured day. On January 12, the day before the ceremony, the juniors assembled in the Blessed Mother Marie Rose Chapel for a special Mass and the blessing of their rings. The next morning at 9 a.m., in a procession led by the Sophomore Honor Guards, the juniors entered Brady Center North and sat facing their friends, teachers, and family. Assistant Principal Mr. Jack Mullarkey called each junior to the stage to receive her ring, presented by Principal Mrs. Camille Jowanna with the assistance of Junior Class Moderator Mrs. Betsy Suskauer.
After the ring presentation, the audience joined in singing the Alma Mater, after which the juniors made the traditional walk through the archway of roses held by students in the Sophomore Honor Guard. After receiving her rose, each junior exited into the courtyard where she received congratulations from faculty, family and friends and shared a beautifully decorated cake. The juniors enjoyed the privilege of having the rest of the day off to celebrate with their families and guests.
Although it is her first year participating in the ring ceremony, Mrs. Jowanna has attended many ring ceremonies at Tampa Catholic. “A ring ceremony is a special time for the girls, and I enjoyed standing on stage and meeting all of them.” She added, “Tampa Catholic’s signing ceremony is different from TC’s because every year they have an evening ceremony that includes a mass.”
Mrs. Suskauer became the ceremony coordinator three years ago and has enjoyed the challenging job. Handling ring orders for eighty-three girls is difficult for one person to handle, but Mrs. Suskauer handles the stress by “staying organized and taking notes.”
Although the ceremony was picture-perfect, unknown to the audience, there were a few unplanned obstacles with seating. Thanks to quick thinking by sophomore teacher Mrs. Lori Kearney, the Sophomore Honor Guards were able to follow her precise instructions and form the arch without a glitch. Sophomore Class Moderator Mrs. Linda Nutter said, “The sophomores deserve a collective ‘pat on the back’ for their ability to follow precise directions quickly.”
The ring is not just a piece of jewelry for Academy girls. The ring is significant and reminds them of the hard work, religious maturation, and academic expectations experienced by all Academy graduates. The open book, lyre, and atom on the lower part of the crest symbolize academics, fine arts, and knowledge associated with Academy student life. The Cross surrounded by three lilies symbolizes the vocational calling of the Sisters of the Holy Names and their vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.
Setting an example for their underclass women, the juniors will continue to uphold the significance of the ring. By doing this, the girls are the perfect example of Academy’s school’s motto “Esse Quam Videri” – “to be rather than to seem. “